Letters To Juliet


Directed by: Gary Winick
Written by:Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael Garcia Bernal, Christopher Egan, Franco Nero, Lidia Biondi
Released: May 13, 2010
Grade: C

If you go to the city of Verona in northern Italy, you should make sure you check out Juliet’s House.  It’s a popular tourist spot and I found myself there in June 2004.  It has a balcony and courtyard reminiscent of that which featured in William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.  Romantics flock to the site and rub a statue of Juliet.  It’s supposed to make them lucky when it comes to love.  Others write love letters and leave them posted on the wall of the house.

Letters To Juliet is a romantic comedy which revolves around this tradition.  Sophie (Seyfried) is an American girl on holidays in Verona with her boyfriend (Bernal).  Whilst visiting Juliet’s House, she sees an Italian lady remove the love letters from the wall and put them in a basket.  Sophie then follows her to find out what becomes of them.

In turns out there are a group of ladies who prepare a handwritten response to each letter.  They’ve been doing it for years.  I’m not sure if this happens in real life but I’ll go along with it for the purposes of the movie.  When her boyfriend ducks off to the countryside on a wine tasting trip for a few days, Sophie decides to help these women out and write a few romantic replies of her own.

She will find herself caught up in an epic love story.  50 years ago, a woman named Claire wrote a letter and left it behind a loose brick in the wall.  She professed her love for a man known as Lorenzo Bartolini.  Sophie has stumbled on the letter and wants to know what happened to these two people.  Half a century has since passed but did they end up together?

The answer is no.  I won’t go into too many more details (the plot is rather convoluted) but Sophie manages to track down Claire who is now living in London with her grandson, Charlie (Egan).  Both Claire and Charlie fly to Verona to meet Sophie and they end up going on a road trip across Italy to find out what happened to Lorenzo.

I didn’t like this movie.  It all felt too contrived.  They check the phone book and find more than 70 guys in the area named Lorenzo Bartolini.  Instead of saving time by giving each one of them a phone call, Sophie, Claire and Charlie drive back and forth across northern Italy visiting them one-by-one.  It’s an annoying plot device which covers the fact that there isn’t much to this story.

Sophie falls in love in Charlie in the process and this leaves her re-evaluating her current relationship.  Should she ditch her boyfriend and fly into Charlie’s waiting arms?  I was hoping she wouldn’t.  I hated Charlie.  I found him to be incredibly annoying.  I put it down to a combination of the dreadful dialogue and Christopher Egan’s over-the-top performance.  I’m telling you – Sophie could have done a lot better if you ask me.

Some might like Letters To Juliet for its beautiful scenery and Vanessa Redgrave’s nice performance but this is one romantic comedy that I have no intention of subjecting myself to again.